Kirby Lofts Borrower Pleads Guilty
|Jan. 10, 2012|
HOUSTON - Robert Veazie has pleaded guilty to a fourth superseding criminal information in connection with obtaining residential home loans, including some in the Kirby Lofts condominium complex, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Veazie entered his plea to one count of filing a false income tax return for failing to report funds he was paid to act as a borrower on the loans late yesterday before U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal.
Others charged in this scheme to defraud residential lenders in connection with single family residences and individual condominium purchases in a building located at 917 Main Street in Houston, also known as the “The Kirby Lofts,” have also pleaded guilty. Derwin Frazier, 45, of Pearland, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, while Brenda East, 50, and Veronica Frazier, 43, both previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The criminal information alleged the Kirby Lofts and other single family homes were sham sales. From approximately December 2004 to October 2006, Derwin Frazier recruited individuals with good credit to act as borrowers in applications for mortgage loans to purchase units in Kirby Lofts and elsewhere. Co-conspirators assisted these “straw borrowers” with providing false information and documents, including bogus letters and false verifications of bank balances, to induce lenders to fund residential home purchases. Derwin and Veronica Frazier, as well as East, submitted invoices for payment from loan proceeds and used the money to pay themselves and straw borrowers like Veazie from loan proceeds.
Veazie faces up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 at his sentencing, set for May 15, 2012. He has also agreed to pay restitution as ordered by the court.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys Belinda Beek and Martha Minnis are prosecuting the case.
The case is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and was part of “Operation Stolen Dreams,” a nationwide dragnet which targeted mortgage fraudsters throughout the country, the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in confronting mortgage fraud. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.